Lightroom Mobile Delivers Improved HDR Photo Mode

March 6, 2017

By Greg Scoblete

There’s been a lot of talk of late about “computational photography” and how it promises to revolutize camera design. While it’s usually been discussed in the context of the Light camera, smartphones are also playing a role in driving computational photography forward.

Exhibit A is a new update to Lightroom Mobile that, according to Adobe, “lets you achieve a dynamic range on your mobile device that was previously only possible shooting with an DSLR or mirrorless camera.”

Now that both iOS and Android devices can capture RAW (DNG) files, Adobe has a bit more data to play with. The new HDR mode leverages that data by scanning a scene to determine the correct exposure range and then recording three DNG files in quick succession. According to Adobe, those files are then “automatically aligned, merged, deghosted, and tonemapped in the app. You get a 16-bit floating point DNG, with all of the benefits of both an HDR and a raw photo, which is processed by the same algorithms with the same quality as the HDR technology built into Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom.”

You’ll be able to access HDR mode on the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, iPhone SE, or iPad Pro 9.7. Android device support is limited to the Samsung S7, S7 Edge, Google Pixel, and Pixel XL.

The iOS update (2.7) also delivers the ability to export original files, use gestures in the Rate & Review mode, prevent the iPhone from sleeping when connecting to power and a few other odds and ends.

The Android update (2.3) adds the Radial and Linear Selection tool and fixes a few bugs.